A woman is on trial in Germany for allegedly murdering her boyfriend with a circular electric saw, cutting off his head, and then hiding the body.
The 32-year-old teacher, named only as Gabriele P under German privacy laws, is accused of killing her partner when he was tied to a bed and wearing blacked-out swimming goggles as part of a sex game she says he initiated.
The December 2008 killing came to light last year, when an acquaintance of the defendant, who was 23 at the time of the alleged murder, went to police.
Officers found the body, which Gabriele P and two friends had allegedly buried several years earlier, in the garden of the Munich home where the couple had lived together.
Prosecutors say the couple had been having sex when she attacked the man, who has been named as Alex H in the German press, with the electric power tool, slicing open his chest. He died from wounds to the upper body, before she decapitated him.
Gabrielle P, who was a trainee teacher at the time, admits killing the 28-year-old literature student, but her defence lawyers plan to argue it was an unpremeditated act of desperation.
She had been driven to despair by Alex H, who was several years older than her and forced her to take part in “degrading sex games”, they told the court as the trial opened on Monday.
Gabrielle P and Alex H met when she was only 16, the court heard. After she turned 18, they moved into the house, which she inherited from her grandmother, together, but their relationship was extremely volatile.
“He was two different people,” Gabrielle H told the court. “The one I fell in love with was cultured and funny.”
But another Alex H bullied her into sex acts she was not comfortable with, she claimed. Her lawyers plan to present a diary in which they say she kept a record of sex practices he forced her to take part in.
In December 2008 the couple had a major row and she threw him out of the house, the court was told.
They later patched up their differences and she allowed him to return, but prosecutors allege that she was only making a show of reconciliation and had already decided to kill him.
On the night of the killing, Alex H blindfolded himself with a pair of diving goggles blacked out with masking tape and told Gabrielle P to tie him to the bed.
Once he was secured, she is accused of killing him by holding the running circular saw through his chest.
The defence claims the saw was in the room because the couple were making renovations, and that she reached for it on the spur of the moment.
Gabrielle P covered her dead boyfriend's remains with a sheet after the killing and did not return to the room, leaving the body undisturbed for six months.
It was not until she brought a new lover, Christian K, to the house that the body was discovered.
Instead of alerting the authorities, Christian K helped her bury the dismembered corpse in the garden of the house.
He has already been sentenced to two years and eight months in jail for hiding the body in a separate trial.
During his trial he said he helped hide the body "out of love for Gabriele".
Alex H’s adoptive parents raised the alarm after his disappearance but were told by Gabriele P he had moved to Romania with a new girlfriend and wanted to break off contact.
Alex H's mother, Thea E, said she had spent several years looking for him.
At the trial on Monday she said: “Gabi is lying. I’d like to look into her eyes and see if she’s really such a cold monster.”
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies